Christian duty in government and community
the Bishops, Regular Clergy, and Faithful of the Anglican Rite Roman
Catholic Church in the United States of America, greetings and
Church and the State are not separate, even if they are not
administratively linked. While it is correct that the State does not
have the authority to govern or interfere with the business of the
Church, it is a complete perversion of Christian duty and doctrine to
believe that Christians must lay aside their sacred beliefs when
serving in public office or fulfilling a public function such as
voting. When confronted with the pervasion promotion of such a
perversion in American society today, a faithful Christian is surely
left perplexed at how the faith can be truly and wholly practiced if
it is to be laid aside in such an important arena as government and
the community. One is further left perplexed as to why every other
school of thought and purported source of morality and ethics is
permitted in the public sphere when religion is not. This is the
ultimate work of the secularists, who seek to destroy the Church from
without, and the modernists, who seek to destroy the Church from within.
Christian Faith is a religion of action. No area of our lives may
remain untouched by our faith if we are to call ourselves Christians.
There can be no walls built between different areas of our individual
lives, for in truth we each have only one life on this earth. The
building of such walls is part of thought stemming from errors
introduced by Protestantism. It is not appropriate for Christians to
claim that they have, for example, a religious life, a work life, a
social life, and a family life, and all such so-called lives are
separate. Rather, those things are all aspects of one's life, not
separate lives. Chief among all aspects is the religious, as it is
based on the very essence of humanity and our relationship to our
Creator. We cannot claim to be Christian, therefore, if we ignore the
teachings of our faith when we are at work, at play, interacting with
our families, participating in social organizations, and so forth.
is in each person an essential hierarchy of rules. This applies even
in today's lamentable environment of moral relativism that is so
dangerous to the soul. Let us consider the example of two sets of
rules, the social and the civil. Note that by social rules and social
matters here is explicitly meant the general customs of interaction
between human beings. This does not pertain to matters of social
justice or social responsibility as used in these examples.
Under social rules, one might feel a certain loyalty to one's friends
and not betray their trust, for to do so would be a violation of the
social rules. However, consider that there might be occasions in
which the civil rules, i.e., the laws of the State, might expect you
to betray the trust of your friends. Placed in such a position, one
is faced with violating either the social rules or the laws of the
State. Thus, anyone who would choose the laws of the State over
social rules clearly values State law more than social rule. That
value may indeed come from fear of greater punishment from the State,
or it may come from a genuine belief that the laws of the State are
superior to the social norms. It does not matter the source of the
value, but only that there is such a hierarchy of rule systems inside
each person. In general it can be said that whatever set of rules one
values over the others such that one will always or at least most
always choose those rules over the other can be said to be the chief
governing set of rules for an individual. This is something inherent
to each individual.
consider that there are three sets of rules, viz., the social rules,
the laws of the State, and the laws of the Church. We have already
dealt with the choice between social rules and the laws of the State
in the previous example. Consider now the two remaining choices:
social rules vs. the laws of the Church, and the laws of the State
vs. the laws of the Church. The scenarios are precisely the same as
in the previous example. Will an individual choose social rules or
Church law? If the former, then social matters are more important to
the individual than the faith. This could be an individual, for
example, who does not practice his faith when he is in danger of
being ridiculed by others. Now, if one chooses the latter, on the
other hand, then one clearly values one's faith over social matters.
Likewise, if given the choice between following State law and Church
law, and one chooses the former, then one finds the State superior to
the Church. If one chooses the latter, then one finds the Church
superior to the State.
the hierarchy of rules, the only appropriate arrangement is first
Church, then State, and then Social. Note again that this does not
refer to matters of social justice and social responsibility, for
those fall under the laws of the Church.
is disheartening and concerning that many people today find the
State superior to the Church. It is also sad that many feel the need
to give into societal pressure from modern, secular American society
to hide their light under a bushel and not truly practice their
faith. The more Christians give in to these bully tactics by
secularists, liberals, and modernists, the weaker the Church becomes.
That is, of course, the plan of the secularists, liberals, and
modernists. Each individual Christian has a duty to stand up for the
Faith.(1) The strength of the Church is the responsibility of all Christians.
of concern is the misinterpretation of the Constitution of the
United States, and specifically the First Amendment. Nowhere in the
Constitution do the words "separation of Church and State"
appear. The complete text of the First Amendment is given as follows:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the
freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress
of grievances." This Amendment applied first only to the Federal
government of the United States. It did not apply to the several
States until 1947.(2) Attempts to prevent federal and state
governments from "promoting" religion did not come about
until the twentieth century, predominately in 1994.(3)
observe the long-standing Christian nature of the American republic.
Even in the colonial period, each colony was predominately Christian
in nature. Some colonies had official or at least preferred
religions. This Christian nature did not end with the American
Revolution or with the ratification of the Constitution of the United
States. The Supreme Court building displays the Ten Commandments. The
President of the United States is sworn into office with his hand on
a Bible. "In God we Trust" is printed on money. The office
of Chaplain exists in the United States Congress. These are but a few
of many such examples of the presence of religion, and especially the
Christian religion, in the government of the United States and the
several States thereof. We also point out the religious aspect to the
War Between the States, or the Civil War, for both sides of the
conflict. It is simply a fallacy to suggest that it is historically
American to keep religion out of the public sphere. Yet, this fallacy
is precisely the reinterpretation of history and the law that the
liberals, secularists, and modernists are promoting.
right of the Church to be free from interference of the government
is what is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Said amendment does not
prevent people from applying their faith and morals to their work in
public office, to their vote, or to any other aspect of the public
sphere. Indeed, no true Christian can lay aside his faith to serve in
public office. From whence, then, would come the moral compass
expected to guide each public servant? The changing whims of society
or State-imposed pseudo-morality take the place of Christian morals
and ethics if Christian morals and ethics are laid aside.
Christian public servant is first a servant of Christ. Likewise, a
Christian citizen of a country is first a Christian. This applies
even to secular states, for the law of Christ is universal. The law
of Christ has outlasted many regimes and governments and will outlast
the validity of any government rests on its consistency with the
laws of Christ. For example, socialist regimes are intrinsically
invalid and illegitimate, for socialism is incompatible with
Christianity. Also, any State that seeks to suppress the Faith and
restrict the freedom of the Church is inherently flawed and
illegitimate. It is the duty of citizens of all countries to vote
according to the principles of Christianity in order to establish
that freedom that can come only through Christ. This is for the
benefit of all citizens of such countries, not only for Christians,
as the true Christian works for the good of all mankind.
therefore, call upon the faithful in the United States of America at
this crucial time in history to remember their Christian duty when
engaged in any matter of public policy or action. This includes
public officials, government employees, and private citizens. In a
republic, each citizen has a right to participate in governance, and
therefore has a duty to do so as a means of establishing Christ's
justice and truth in this world. One cannot be a Christian on Sunday
and a secular public servant the rest of the week. One cannot be a
Christian even every day and a secular citizen, laying aside the
faith, in the voting booth.
is at an important cross-roads. She faces the choice of being a
secular nation that suppresses the Christian Faith or a Christian
nation that embraces the freedom that can only come through Christ.
We must all do our Christian duty first and foremost when making
decisions that impact others. This is not an imposition of our
personal beliefs on others, but an exercise not only of our rights
but our duty as members of the faithful. And, indeed, the clergy have
an even greater obligation.
therefore pray that all the faithful in America will be given the
courage and resolve to stand firm in the faith despite the
opposition. We pray that those whose faith has been weakened through
their own action or the influence of secularists, liberals, or
modernists, may be strengthened. We pray that the hearts of our
enemies may be turned. We pray that America will be spared the evils
of socialism, communism, and other totalitarian regimes that are an
affront to the dignity of the human person. We pray that America will
respect life and individual freedom. We pray that America will shine
forth as an example of true religious freedom in the future.
Rutherford c.p.p. I
at the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham on the Feast of Saint Clare
the Virgin, within the Octave of Saint Lawrence the Martyr, and
on the tenth Sunday after the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, on the
twelfth day of August in the 2011th day of the Incarnation of our Lord.
1.3; I Peter 3.15; II Timothy 4.
Everson v. Board of Education. 1947
of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet. U.S.
Supreme Court. 1994.